Beauval’s Roy finding success in WHL

Eric Roy fires a shot for the Brandon Wheat Kings in WHL action. The 17-year-old Beauval blue liner sits in first place in defenceman scoring in the WHL through 28 games this season.(Photo courtesy Brandon Wheat Kings)

Leading WHL defencemen in scoring

By Mac Christie

It took a countless number of practices, and a lot of hours travelling up and down Highway 155 from Beauval to Meadow Lake for Eric Roy to get where he is today – topping the list for defenceman scoring in the WHL.

The 17-year-old Roy, a second-year blue liner for the Brandon Wheat Kings, has recorded 29 points in 28 games this season. But it all began in Meadow Lake, where he played minor hockey since atom.

He played in the community because there was no place to play organized hockey in his hometown of Beauval said his father Bill,  adding the family’s Pontiac Montana has quite a few kilometres on it from making the 300 km round trip to Meadow Lake several times per week.

Bill, who does shift work in the mines, said the responsibility of driving often fell on his wife Karen.

“Nine times out of 10 she’d be the one driving,” he explained, adding he’d drive when he could or on weekends. “As far as I’m concerned it’s worth it now,” he said with a laugh.

For his part, Eric said playing in Meadow Lake was key to his development as a player.

“It was really where my career started,” he said. “It’s really helped me out a lot, it got me drafted.”

The 6’ 3’’ rearguard was picked by the Wheat Kings in the first round, 18th overall, in the 2009 WHL Bantam draft from the Centre Four Hockey League.

He recorded 19 points in 49 games as a rookie last season, but spent the past summer training in Brandon, something he said has made a big difference in his game.

“I’ve gotten stronger and I’ve got more confidence this year to move the puck,” Eric explained, adding the grind of a WHL season was tough in his rookie campaign. “I wasn’t in good enough shape last year.”

He admitted it was also difficult being away from home for the first time, but said this year has been better.

“I’ve got the same billet as last year,” he said. “It’s been good so far.”

Wheat Kings head coach Cory Clouston said players in junior hockey are often more comfortable in their second season, and Eric is no different.

“Each year you’re more confident, you improve areas of your game and you get bigger and stronger,” he said. “He’s come a long way even from the start of the season.”

Clouston noted Eric has to continue to work on all aspects of his game.

“Every young player – whether it’s a forward, defenceman or goalie – they can’t quit working,” he explained. “I think that’s why he’s had a good year, because he’s worked to improve in all areas.”

Eric said he wants to improve his defensive zone play, and hopes to finish the season with 40 points. But in the meantime, he’s looking forward to spending some time at home in Beauval over Christmas.

“The last time I was home was in June,” he said. “It’s been a long time.”

But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t seen his parents, who travel to see him play about once a month.

In fact, they recently saw the Wheat Kings play in Prince Albert and Saskatoon, then made the trip to Brandon to take in two home games.

Just a few more kilometres to add on to the family van.

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Comments
One Response to “Beauval’s Roy finding success in WHL”
  1. larry g says:

    keep working hard and injoy ever minute of the game. keep up the good work in the new year……larry

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